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A shrub is a small plant that grows naturally, as opposed to a domesticated farm crop. They can be found all over the world in grassy areas, savannas, forests, and deserts. They will also sprout on soil and muddy stone underground if a cavern has been breached. Shrubs are instrumental for plant gathering, and in environments with a significant amount of vegetation they can be an excellent supply of food. Gathering shrubs also serves to provide a supply of seeds for use in planting surface crops, such as longland grass and wild strawberries.
Shrubs can be collected by dwarves with the plant gathering labor enabled in order to produce plant items. Early on, shrubs are an important source of seeds for growing an above ground farm plot. Harvesting subterranean shrubs grown on a smoothed floor will make the floor rough.[Verify]
To collect plants, find green, healthy bushes –
" – rather than the dead or dried up brown ones –
" – and designate them for plant gathering. Dwarves with the herbalism labor enabled and little else to do will rush out and start trying to gather plants. When a herbalist attempts to collect plants from an aboveground shrub, there is an 80% probability that he or she will fail to glean anything usable from it, regardless of their skill; underground shrubs, however, will always yield usable plants. There is usually plenty of available vegetation however, so designate a wide area and leave them to it.
Most plants collected from bushes can be brewed or cooked, and some can be used as dyes. Brewing or eating (but not cooking) plants will produce seeds, which can then be planted on outdoor farms. A stockpile should be created for storing the collected plants, or they will just be left outside to shrivel up in the sun. A general food stockpile will do, but a custom stockpile for specific plants will prevent the stockpile filling up with other junk.
A shrub is a type of map tile, similar to trees and walls in that they are a state that can be designated for action, such as to be dug out or removed. They only occur naturally but tend to grow up very frequently during the year.
Underground shrubs, unlike those found on the surface, appear as color-coded colons rather than green quotation marks –
: for plump helmets,
: for sweet pods,
: for cave wheat,
: for dimple cups, and
: for pig tails or quarry bushes.
In fortress mode, it is not possible to know what type of plant an above-ground shrub will produce until it has been harvested. In adventure mode, however, all shrubs are clearly identifiable upon examination.